Mattress sold in December leads to March stabbing and two Pasco arrests in April

HUDSON — A man stabbed during a fight over a $30 mattress ran from police because of an outstanding warrant — only to be found later hunched over and covered in blood, Pasco County deputies said.

Tony Harrell, 22, was taking out the trash at the Rivermill Apartments one night last month when he saw James Miller III, a 21-year-old he knew as "that Jimmy kid," Harrell's wife Cassandra told investigators.

The two had bad blood, Cassandra said. Miller had sold Harrell a $30 mattress just before Christmas. A week later, a woman came to their door and said the mattress was hers. The Harrells handed it over, but they wanted Miller to pay them back.

The men had begun to argue over the money, Harrell told police, when Miller stabbed a 4-inch switchblade into his lower back.

"Had enough?" Harrell recalled Miller asking. "I'll stab you again!"

Miller fled from near the complex's trash bins at Little Road and Cricket Street in a red Kia, deputies said. Harrell was helped to his apartment by a neighbor. Cassandra called 911.

But before deputies arrived, Harrell told Cassandra he feared arrest for violating probation on marijuana and oxycodone charges. He pushed past her and ran into the dark, deputies reported.

Minutes later, a sheriff's canine unit, Pete, tracked Harrell to below a wooden bridge near the apartments. He was doubled over on his hands and knees, his sweatshirt soaked in blood, with a look of "extreme pain," an investigator wrote.

Deputies at the scene found a small folding knife in Harrell's pocket, a blood-soaked rag and a plastic soda bottle filled with a "fairly large amount" of blood.

Harrell was flown to Bayfront Medical Center and, about a week later, arrested on a warrant. He remained in jail Wednesday in lieu of $1,000 bail.

Deputies encountered Miller during a traffic stop on Tuesday. He admitted to the struggle with Harrell, but he denied having a knife, instead saying Harrell fished the blade from his own pocket and stabbed himself in the back, a move hospital staff said seemed unlikely.

Miller was arrested Tuesday around 5:45 p.m. and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. He remains in jail in lieu of $10,300 bail.

Drew Harwell can be reached at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6244.

Mattress sold in December leads to March stabbing and two Pasco arrests in April 04/14/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:22pm]

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